The compact SUV and crossover segment is one of the most popular on the market. The SUVS within the segment offer more practicality and versatility than sedans or subcompact SUVs, they are less expensive than larger midsize crossovers and SUVs, they are still roomy enough to be great family vehicles, and they are small enough to get great fuel economy figures.
Not all are comfortable, on-road-only transportation units. Some feature impressive off-road capability and can be customized extensively. If off-roading is not your thing, several feature hybrid or plug-in hybrid variants so you can maximize fuel efficiency and ultimately save some cash at the fuel pumps.
The segment is as diverse as it gets, and the continued flood of buyers has pushed it to find models to cover the entire spectrum of needs and wants. Keep reading to see our list of the best compact SUVs and crossovers for 2023.
1. 2023 Nissan Rogue
The Nissan Rogue treads the near-middle ground of the compact SUV segment. It handles well (but not as well as the best-in-class Mazda CX-5), it has a roomy interior (but it is not as roomy as the Honda CR-V), and it’s affordable (but not as inexpensive as some others like the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Ford Escape, or Chevrolet Equinox).
It is not as powerful as some rivals, but its 201-horsepower turbocharged three-cylinder engine (yes, three, not four cylinder) makes up for that by returning a combined 33 MPG fuel economy rating in its standard front-wheel drive layout. All-wheel drive is available, but its single powertrain across all trim levels means that fuel economy does not suffer terribly.
Inside, the Rogue tells the same story. The interior is nice, but it is neither the best nor the worst in the class. One of its stronger attributes is its standard features list that includes an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, a driver attention monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert.
The only changes made to the 2023 model are the optional Midnight Edition package and the ability to add Amazon Alexa to the tech list.
2. 2023 Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V has been completely revamped for 2023. It now sports a more refined exterior design, it’s larger, and inside it’s more technologically advanced. The same 190-horsepower engine and continuously variable transmission power the CR-V from the previous model, but that is not terrible since it retains its excellent fuel economy.
Passengers and cargo will ride in comfort since there is more back seat space than the outgoing model and 39.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind them. A standard 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and an easy-to-use infotainment system will ensure that passengers are even more comfortable on long drives.
Blind-spot monitoring, automatic high beams, and rear-cross traffic alert now join other already-standard safety features like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keep assist as standard for 2023. Its high starting MSRP may hinder some buyers from considering it, but with all that it offers, the CR-V still remains one of the best SUVs on sale.
3. 2023 BMW X3
When it comes to luxury SUVs, the X3 is one of the best in terms of overall balance. It is pricier than competing models like the Audi Q5, Volvo XC60, and Lexus NX, but it has a better blend of performance, driving dynamics, styling, fuel efficiency, and features. Inside you’ll find 28.7 cubic feet of cargo space, comfortable seats, and plenty of passenger space.
Its interior is a bit bland for a luxury SUV, but it comes standard with niceties like a 10.25-inch touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a 12-speaker audio system with which to play. Blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic alert are also standard to keep you safe.
A peppy 248-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder serves as the base engine. It will get you 23 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway.
Other versions of the X3 offer 382-horsepower, 473-horsepower, or 503-horsepower turbocharged inline-sixes, each for less than you would pay for a Porsche Macan. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available.
4. 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
The redesigned Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is all new and it still impresses us just as much as the outgoing model did. The exterior sports a refined and updated look and the inside features the same luxurious and classy feel as other Mercedes-Benz models, but it has gotten bigger.
Its slightly expanded dimensions translate to generous passenger space and 21.9 cubic feet of cargo space. Other improvements include the addition of a new MBUX infotainment system paired with an 11.9-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and blind-spot monitoring will also be standard.
The only powerplant initially available on the GLC-Class is a 2.0-liter turbo and a 48-volt mild hybrid system, good for a combined 258-horsepower output. A nine-speed transmission and either rear or all-wheel drive are also on the table. Additional models will follow the base GLC 300, including several PHEV and AMG options. The future is looking bright.
5. 2023 Ford Bronco Sport
Excellent off-road capability, surprisingly good on-road manners, a roomy interior, and a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS for 2023 characterize the retro-modern Ford Bronco Sport. It also offers offers a pair of engine options and a healthy number of trim configurations.
Its base 1.5-liter EcoBoost turbo inline three-cylinder engine makes 181 horsepower, while the optional 2.0-liter EcoBoost offers 250 horsepower.
Like its larger Bronco sibling, the Bronco Sport come standard with four-wheel drive, and the addition of the Heritage Trim level on both vehicles is the only change of note for 2023.
6. 2023 Mazda CX-50
The Mazda CX-50 is brand new for the 2023 model year, but it is already clear that it has the same DNA as the CX-5 and Mazda3. It looks less like the Mazda3 than the CX-5 does, but it has the same great agility, handling characteristics, and punchy powertrain as both of those vehicles. Like the two other Mazda models, though, it lacks the cargo and passenger space as some others in the segment.
It is built to be a more rugged option than the CX-5, and it looks like it. It still shares the base 187-horsepower four-cylinder and more powerful 227-horsepower turbo with the CX-5, but towing capacity is boosted to 3,500 pounds on the CX-50 when properly equipped. Like its sibling, all-wheel drive comes standard with both engines.
Standard features include an 8.8-inch infotainment screen, wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, driver attention monitoring, and automatic emergency braking. Fuel economy numbers are good at 24 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway with the base engine. Upgrading the engine only drops both of those figures by one MPG.
7. 2023 Genesis GV70
The Genesis GV70 is a bargain-priced luxury SUV that rubs shoulders with the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Acura, Audi, and Volvo, then proceeds to put them to shame. It looks luxurious outside, feels luxurious inside, features class-leading standard equipment, has a low starting MSRP, and has a great blend of power and comfort.
Take your pick from the 300-horsepower base four-cylinder or the more powerful 375-horsepower twin-turbo V6. Either way, you will be rewarded with a performance punch, even though neither is the most fuel-efficient. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking will keep you safe if you start having too much fun.
A 14.5-inch touchscreen, wireless device charging, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an 8-inch digital gauge cluster, remote start, and a hands-free power liftgate all come standard. Rear seat legroom is a bit limited, the seats could use a bit more cushioning, cargo space is good at 28.9 cubic feet, and 3,500 pounds of maximum towing capacity is great for road trips.
Since it came out as a new model in 2022, Genesis has not made any major changes to the GV70 for 2023.
8. 2023 Toyota RAV4
The Toyota RAV4 is a great choice among compact SUVs, but it is beginning to show its age compared to its redesigned or refreshed competitors. To combat that, Toyota has given it an updated infotainment system with larger user interfaces, wireless Apple CarPlay, and wireless Android Auto for 2023.
Each new RAV4 now comes with an 8-inch touchscreen as standard or a 10.5-inch touchscreen if you want to upgrade. You also get a Wi-Fi hotspot, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, and automatic emergency braking. A 203-horsepower engine is standard across all trim levels, including the off-road focused TRD Off-Road trim.
A comfortable ride, generous passenger space, and 37.6 cubic feet of cargo space make the RAV4 one of the more versatile options in the segment. Standard front-wheel drive LE models return fuel economy estimates of 27 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway. All-wheel drive models and higher trim levels will drop but remain decent for the class.
For even better fuel economy, you can look to the RAV4 Hybrid or the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid option. You will need a bit more cash for both, but neither model is terribly out of reach.
9. 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan
The Volkswagen Tiguan is overshadowed by more popular competitors like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Chevrolet Equinox, but it has a trick up its sleeve. It is only one of three compact crossovers on the market to offer a third row. The other models are the Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class, which is much pricier and classier, and the less inspiring Mitsubishi Outlander.
Despite its roomy interior and third-row party trick, it is cramped back there for adults. If you leave them folded, you get 37.6 cubic feet of cargo space. The seats are comfortable, and the second row is adult-friendly.
A smooth 184-horsepower engine and eight-speed automatic enhance the Tiguan’s comfort levels but the engine lacks the oomph of other models.
Standard features include a 6.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an 8-inch digital gauge cluster, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Front-wheel drive is also standard with all-wheel drive being optional.
No major changes have been made to the 2023 Tiguan, but that is fine since both the 2022 and 2023 models have earned a Top Safety Pick+ Award.
10. 2023 Jeep Wrangler
It may be more utilitarian than most models on this list, but the Jeep Wrangler remains a compelling and capable alternative to the more mainstream offerings here. No wonder that its popularity has only grown significanty in recent years.
Of course, the Wrangler is not made to be a comfortable family hauler. Its unrefined interior, lack of standard safety features, rough ride, and lack of fuel efficiency remind its buyers that it was designed for the trails. Some trims even come standard with manual windows. Its buyers do not mind, though. Its high starting MSRP, continued popularity, and high resale values prove it.
You can get a Wrangler with five different engines, two or four doors, eight different trim levels, and a manual or automatic transmission. Standard four-wheel drive comes across the board. At least Jeep added standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and air conditioning to the already small list of other standard features for 2023.
11. 2023 Hyundai Tucson
The Hyundai Tucson overcomes its polarizing styling and unnecessarily frustrating transmission shifter buttons with its versatility. With a warranty only matched by Mitsubishi and Kia, a compliant ride, a high-class interior, hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants to broaden its appeal, an already fuel-efficient powertrain, and a low starting MSRP, it is one of the best SUVs currently available.
A complete redesign last year means that no major changes are in store for the 2023 Tucson. It already has great standard tech features like an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and more optional extras as you climb its trim levels. Blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and driver attention monitoring highlight its standard safety features.
It seems that not much needs to change for 2023, but something we would like to see is a livelier base engine. It returns 26 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway in its base front-wheel drive format with all-wheel drive models naturally receiving lower estimates. Its 187-horsepower four-cylinder is fine. It is not as punchy as we prefer, but we are clutching at straws here.
12. 2023 Ford Escape
Ford Escape buyers will get a mixed bag with their compact crossover of choice. The refreshed 2023 Escape receives some styling updates, a few new trim levels, and the updated SYNC 4 infotainment system. Still, the Escape lacks the pizzazz of competing compact crossovers both inside and out.
You can get one with a hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrain to get the most out of your extra cash, but only you can decide if both models are worth the money. The base Escape returns EPA estimates of 27 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway for a starting MSRP of around $29,000. That is high, but you get a spry 181-horsepower turbocharged three-cylinder under the hood.
Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional, and you can get a more powerful ST-Line version with 250 horsepower. A comfortable ride, a standard 8-inch infotainment screen, wireless Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto highlight what the Escape has to offer. Even bigger and better tech is available for more cash.
The result of all these upgrades is that it edges out its Chevrolet and GMC rivals by a hair as its new tech features, safety features, styling, and well-roundedness boost its overall ratings.
13. 2023 Kia Sportage
The Kia Sportage shares many similarities to its corporate cousin, the Hyundai Tucson. It slots between the smaller Kia Seltos and larger Kia Sorento within its own lineup, and it offers a great blend of the two. It may look odd, but its low MSRP, long powertrain warranty, great fuel efficiency, roomy interior, and comfortable ride still make it appealing.
It is fully redesigned for 2023 and is miles ahead of its predecessor in the styling, safety, and space departments. The Sportage does not have as many standard tech or safety features as the Tucson, but that is reflected in its $27,615 starting MSRP. It is more feature rich as you move up the trim levels, but of course, you have to pay more to get more features.
It shares its 187-horsepower engine with the Tucson, but it returns one MPG less in both city and highway driving in its standard front-wheel drive configuration. All-wheel drive is available and drops fuel economy slightly. If you need more fuel efficiency, you can get it by going with the Sportage Hybrid or Sportage PHEV.
14. 2023 Subaru Forester
Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD drivetrain is not the only thing that helps the Forester stand out in the crowded compact SUV segment. Even though all-wheel drive is standard, it also comes with a low starting MSRP, excellent fuel economy for an AWD vehicle, tons of passenger and cargo space, and a comfortable ride. Subaru has not changed a thing for 2023, and that’s fine with us.
Despite being a comfortable crossover, it can still tackle some of the lighter back trails. It is better suited for poor weather driving conditions, and its standard adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist all help get its passengers safely where they need to be.
Its 182-horsepower four-cylinder easily scoots the Forester around town, and surprisingly, the continuously variable transmission’s simulated gearing makes it feel less winded upon hard acceleration. Standard tech features are not as copious as some other models, but they do get better the higher up the trim level ladder you climb.
15. 2023 Mazda CX-5
Even though the Mazda CX-50 is already on our list, the Mazda CX-5 is equally as impressive. It is agile, features more car-like styling, feels faster than its horsepower numbers suggest, and has one of the best interiors of any non-luxury SUV on the market. Like the Forester, it comes standard with all-wheel drive, but unlike the CX-50 it costs less at baseline.
Mazda has not made any notable changes to the CX-5, but it is good enough to stay poised as a front-runner in the class. Its base 187-horsepower engine is zippy enough. Upgrade to the 227-horsepower turbo unit and the already excellent driving experience ramps up even more. You will be zipping along in comfort too with standard tech features like a 10.2-inch infotainment screen, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto at your disposal.
On the safety front, you get blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. You also get the security of knowing that the CX-5 is a Top Safety Pick+ award winner from the IIHS. Its average rear seat passenger room and average cargo space are small tradeoffs for an SUV of this caliber.
https://www.autolist.com/guides/best-compact-suv Best Compact SUVs and Crossovers for 2023